I picked up a new tool for music writing this week. Last year when I bought a decent laptop computer (Toshiba Satellite dual-core) I thought I would be able to compose anywhere, any time I had it with me.
That turned out to be somewhat wishful thinking, mostly owing to my inability to hear the notes accurately in my head before playing them. Last Sunday I was working at my laptop sitting in the cafe at church – again staring at a double brass quartet I’ve been working on, unable to move forward. I decided at that point that I needed to substitute a software purchase for a hardware purchase.
The software would have been the new Garritan World Instruments, although by the time it is released, I may again have the cash to buy it. The hardware is a small MIDI keyboard that can easily connect to my laptop. After some research, I chose…
2 octaves of velocity sensitive keys, 8 knobs, mod wheel, pitch bend, and transport controls. Bus powered so I can power it directly from the laptop, and class complient so I don’t need any special drivers.
But, most importantly, I can now play instruments as I’m writing. Already I’ve used it to rework a section of that brass double quartet, and I look forward to many more hours of use.